"shower" for older child adoption
HI,

My friend and her husband are currently waiting to adopt children, hopefully a sibling group. She called this week to say they have been chosen for a 4 year old boy and 6 year old girl. They will be meeting to find out more information on them, but they are very excited.

If they adopt this brother and sister, I would love to get some friends together to welcome and give gifts to the new family members and celebrate, just as when we had a shower with gifts when our daughter was born.
What is the best way to do this?

I don't know that a gathering of strangers to these children would be the best thing for them at first. I also want them to know there are many who are excited for them.

Should I arrange instead for gifts to be gathered and then given all together without the "party?"

Thanks for any ideas,
Michelle
Michelle,
I think that is a fantastic idea! Good for you. If it were me I think I might let them settle into the family for a few weeks, get to know their personality and then make a decision as to whether or not to make this a big party.

Babies or young children coming into your life will still be an adjustment and things will be needed. If they get along well with other children could you maybe make it a play day and have it in shifts? Meaning maybe from 1-2 you have 2-4 families visit then from 3-4 have a few more so that it is not so overwhelming? Just have snacks so it is not to expensive to feed?
My friends at work gave a Welcome Home party for my daughter, who was 8 at the time. I had them wait a few weeks for her to settle in and I was on pins and needles the whole time. There were gifts and she just wanted to get home to get into them. Nothing else mattered to her after that!
You'll get lots of different opinions on this. Before I start with mine I want to say that Whatever you do, it WILL be appreciated. So many people don't think that adopting older kids is as wonderful and special as giving birth is, and so they neglect to celebrate the adoptive parents excitement. Anything you do will be appreciated.

My opinion is that the best timing for a shower is before the child moves in.

I have reasons for this:
--first of all, it's because the shower is for the parents. The kids will use the stuff, but its the parents excitement at welcoming a new family member that you're celebrating.
--Likewise, it's usually before the child is born that people throw a shower for a birth child. Its nice to know what you have and what you still need to buy before the kids are actually there.
--And, having the shower before the children move in helps in the awful case that can happen if the children move in and later move out (for whatever reason the adoption doesn't happen). If the gifts are to the parents for whoever their child is, there's less guilt attached to the gifts, and the gifts stay at the home instead of moving wth the child.

Also, you're right that a party at which strangers give gifts is NOT good to have early in the childrens' relationship with their new parents. If the children have attachment difficulties it could be downright terrible for them. At the least it is likely to cause toy problems in the home as mom and dad try to interact wth the chidlren and the children just want to play alone with new toys. And there is likely to be an abundance of new things - leading to problems with keeping rooms clean, things picked up, leaving toys alone to do chores, etc. And if mom and dad try to limit the toys, then they're the bad guys. We all know how difficult it is to take a toy away from a child who has already seen it.

But if the shower was before the children were in the home, the parents are the givers of the toys. They can have only one or two available at a time if necessary, so there are fewer power struggles.

There's also the problem of the timing of the children "getting adjusted". You could have this great plan of waiting X number of weeks after they move in, but what happens if after that time passes the kids aren't "adjusted" yet? Everyone has been waiting and waiting, (including the parents who likely have been waiting to get a few things because they expect friends to give them at the shower) and then the shower doesn't happen.

I could go on and on, of course, but you get the idea.

But if you have the shower before kids move in, with the idea that it is for *whoever* the parents end up adopting, then most of those concerns aren't concerns anymore.

And then after the children have truly adjusted and the parents know what they will have issues with and what will be fine, they can host a separate "meet the children" party at their home where the focus is on talking and having fun together, rather than on presents.


But thank you for realizing that for the parents, this is defiately a life change worth celebrating!
When my husband and I brought home our almost five year old son, our church friends also wanted to do something for us. I explained to them that it was so very appreciated but that it would be just to overwhelming for him to have so many gifts at once and too many strangers for him to be present at the shower. So, they got together and did a "money tree" for us and put the money on a Visa gift card so that I could get ds whatever I thought he needed. Came in very handy when I needed to get his winter coat. As a personal gift to ds they included a few new books for him.

I thought the gift card idea was wonderful because I could use it on the things he really needed and didn't have to overwhelm him all at once.:camo:
I agree, have the shower before the kids come home. There will likely be a transition period while the kids are slowly moving in with their new mom and dad, so there is time to put together a shower for your friends.

Have fun and I know your friends will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Thank you--I had not thought of having a shower before--then the children will have things ready for them when they arrive! Good thoughts on the parents being the giver of the gifts.

Denice, that's a good idea for small groups to meet the children when the time is right.

And thinking about struggles over new things, I guess I should have thought to mention that the couple already have two children from birth--boy age 6 and girl age 8. (The new ones would be boy age 4 and girl age 6.)

Does this throw a wrench into giving gifts?
I really like the idea of giving a shower before the kids come home. Because the children are older doesn't mean this parent won't need a ton of things in their house for them that they just don't have.

I know that nobody did that for my parents when I was placed for adoption at 7 years old. My parents bought a ton of clothes at thrift shops (new to me so I didn't care) and fashioned dressers by stacking cardboard boxes and duct taping them together. It worked short term. Slowly we got what we needed. The thing that people did for us was to throw a huge party when the adoption was finalized just over a year later. All the relatives came. All our friends came. And since we had been in the home for over a year it was not traumatic for us. It was just a celebration.

Samantha
A finalization celebration is a great idea!
I do not think that the fact there are already children throws any kind of wrench into the gift-giving. EXCEPT, obviously you want to be careful to not have an overwhelming gift-giving occasion for two children while two others are present. No need to set up an us-vs-them scenario between the two pairs.

So if you're talking about half-a-dozen families who want to give a single gift apiece, then pretty much anything will work, because that's not much different than a birthday party that siblings would attend without receiving their own gifts. Kids that age could handle that OK if they had to.

But if you're talking about 20-some families, who each want to give a gift to each child, or that sort of overwhelming situation, then I think you're much better having it without any of the four children present.
Good thoughts Diane.
Maybe then if it is a shower beforehand, the children already at home can see how these gifts will be the new family members' things, just as they already have things of their own.
Since they already have children, they likely have a lot of stuff. Obviously gifts for the new kids are great and it will be appreciated. Another thought though if someone is really stuck for a gift idea....certificates to family outings would be awesome!

Having 4 kids myself, I love getting zoo passes, movie tickets, passes to the indoor jump zones, museums etc. since all that adds up and can be expensive. Even if money isn't a concern for them, if you feel they already have enough "stuff", this could be an idea.
...or atleast a couple of people can go in together and get a gift card or some type of cash card. This way the parents can maybe spend it on something for all four kids as a TOGETHER gift now that they are all brothers and sisters. Maybe something like a board games for 4 people etc.
So, so many good ideas. Thank you, I will remember all of these. Good ideas on together gifts for the family too.
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